CXTech Week 27 2022 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 27 2022 newsletter is to highlight, with commentary, some of the news stories in CXTech this week. What is CXTech?  The C stands for Connectivity, Communications, Collaboration, Conversation, Customer; X for Experience because that’s what matters; and Tech because the focus is enablers.

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Covered this week:

  • Telesign and NAAC merger / IPO Off
  • FreeSWITCH Community Survey
  • Netflix’s Decline, the Wrong Measurement
  • Malaysia’s State Run 5G network gets 6 telcos
  • Efecte acquires InteliWISE for 6M Euro
  • NetNumber bought by PE firm Abry Partners keeps services business and spins out software business
  • POC or Hack the Discussion Continues
  • Toku launches a contact centre
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Telesign and NAAC merger / IPO Off

No surprise on this one given rising interest rates and an imminent recession. Most businesses are seeing a drop in bookings for H2. NAAC could not raise the necessary cash, like many other failed SPAC deals, e.g. Syniverse in CXTech Week 7 2022.

Proximus will now consider other funding options for the $90 million it thinks is needed for Telesign to realise it’s published growth trajectory to 2024. Likely that will be revised down given there’s no IPO. Which in my opinion is good, as those numbers seemed aggressive, especially given the current market conditions.

I doubt any of the previous deals are left on the table, but it would be worth a revisit. Perhaps split the business between the SMS aggregation which is self sufficient and would be snapped up by many of the larger aggregators. Then focus the funds on the high growth secure identity business with a small team to lower funding needs.

It’s a great case study on the importance of taking cash today and acting, not the promise of cash tomorrow with uncertainty that delays action.

FreeSWITCH Community Survey

I’m busy analysing all the data from the Open Source Telecom Software Survey, excellent and insightful responses again this year. Back in 2019 I created a survey to gather people’s experiences and opinions on using Open Source Telecom Software. Here are the surveys from 20212020 and 2019, with the results from 20212020 and 2019.

The results from the 2022 FreeSWITCH survey reminded me of the results from our 2019 survey. I remember a conversation with Fred Posner at Astricon discussing the results of the 2019 survey, where he share some of the keys to Kamailio’s success in community management.

One was not having a commercial entity anywhere near the open source project. Another was being open, clear, and consistent to build trust with the community. Open source success is built over many years, since 2000 in the case of Asterisk, trust is hard to build and easily broken. However, most of the telecom app server projects are mature, and many of the companies that use the projects are at a point where they can maintain their instance should something happen to the open source project.

Giving away software does not put food on the table for your family, the same is true for free analysis on a weblog 😉 So there must be a commercial entity somewhere, just at arms length. This week Oleg Agafonov the CTO and co-founder of the open source project SIP3, put out a request for work to help with making make SIP3 more stable

Netflix’s Decline, the Wrong Measurement

We’ve enjoyed Netflix for many years because of its fresh original content. Not the focus-group-led, middle-management-meddled, formulaic pulp that comes out of most of the studios, which is stuffed full of awful adverts. But the latest seasons of Umbrella Academy and Stranger things have left us uninspired. Drawn out is the common theme.

Stranger Things 4 surpasses one billion hours viewed for Netflix, but each episode in 1h20. Too long to view in one evening for us. And the final episode was 2h20. We watched that over 3 nights. The last 30 mins was reunion and scene setting for series 5, which was rather anticlimactic on the third night of viewing one episode.

I’ll not bother with an in depth critique, that’s not the point of this article, only to say it’s definitely cinematic, but the sense of dread has dropped significantly and it feels highly targeted at the teenager audience. The reviews of season 4 do not jive we my experience.

The point here is the measurement. Season 4 is 13 hours long, compared to Squid Game of 9 hours, for which its competing for most viewed ever on Netflix. And Season 1 of Stranger Things can be viewed in 8 hours. Are those 5 extra hours worth it, most definitely not, season 1 is way better.

On YouTube the popular measurement is views, which simply means someone spent more than 30 seconds watching that video. The average video length is roughly 10 minutes on YT. For a Netflix series the average is about 50 minutes. So as long as someone watches for 2m30, count the views. It will stop this silliness of claiming success by forcing people to sit through hours of cinematic, drawn-out teenage angst. We’re not leaving Netflix, and we’re not looking out for Season 5. The Boys has delivered a better bang for the buck of time invested.

Malaysia’s State Run 5G network gets 6 telcos

We’ve been tracking this approach of a 5G NBN (National Broadband Network) since last year with article last year, Keep and Eye on Malaysia.

The 9 telcos in Malaysia had until June 30th to accept an offer of equal stakes totaling as much as 70% in DNB, the state-owned entity in charge of building the country’s 5G network infrastructure. The top four carriers have been demanding a 51% majority stake instead of the minority holdings. As covered in CXTech Week 21 2022. So far we know 6 have agreed.

DNB’s roll-out goal to ensure 40% 5G reach in densely populated areas by the end of this year, from about 15% in March. By 2024, it targets to extend it nationwide to 80% in populated areas.

Efecte acquires InteliWISE for 6M Euro

InteliWISE expanded from voice assistants (chatbots), in omnichannel cloud contact center and team video-chat. I met them at a RESTCOMM event in 2017. Efecte are an ITSM (IT Service Management) company. Many of their enterprise workflows use chatbots, it’s an interesting fit, with the ability to sell together or separately.

NetNumber bought by PE firm Abry Partners keeps services business and spins out software business

I mentioned NetNumber in CXTech Week 12 2021, with an SMS hacking incident. In this Vice article, the hacker used a service by a company called Sakari, which helps businesses do SMS marketing and mass messaging, to reroute messages to him.

How this works is resellers fill out a Letter of Authorization (LOA) which tells their wholesale carrier they have the rights to a number, whilst the wholesale carrier trusts the LOA is reliable. SMS messages meant for you could then be rerouted to a different number, and you would have no way of knowing it had happened. With a SIM swap you can see that service to your phone has been interrupted, whereas this new SMS rerouting hijack would be invisible to the victim. This article discusses it in more depth.

The NetNumber services business Global Data Services (GDS) provides a single source for global inter-carrier routing, roaming, voice and messaging data covering 240+ countries and territories, 12,000+ service providers and 3,000,000 code-ranges. It enables carriers to understand incoming number formats and help protect customers from fraud. Likely Abry Partners sees the upside in number intelligence to secure online transactions, such as through Prove and TeleSign.

The software business is a programmable signalling framework across 2G, 3G, 4G, or 5G, under the TITAN brand.

POC or Hack the Discussion Continues

Last week I wrote a piece on how hacking can help carriers be more agile compared to the traditional POC approach. The discussion continues both on Linkedin (below) and on the blog.

Toku launches a contact centre 

Toku have announced their contact center service. They positioned as a CPaaS, given 8X8 bought Wavecell for $125M in 2019. But we’re unlikely to see such valuations repeated. Then focused in on the Microsoft Teams opportunity in Asia as the calling bit is quite complex compared to North America. And have now formally announced their contact center solution. Delivering programmable communications across UCaaS, CPaaS and CCaaS. As I said in this article, it’s all just programmable communications.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Yusuf Kaka is now SME and Startups Technology Lead at Microsoft. Yusuf has supported both TADHack and TADSummit during his time at MTN. I hope he can do the same in Microsoft 😉

Alexey Chernyshev is now Head Of Business Analysis at ITentika. We first met during his time at DataArt.

Graham Bolton is now Commercial Director at Smart Wireless Innovation Facility SWIFt, a private 5G and IOT commercial testbed, located on the Clifton Campus at Nottingham Trent University.

Muhammad Ayub is now Director Technical & Operations at Salam Mobile. I think we first met at an SDP Asia in Singapore nearly 2 decades ago.

João Plácido is now Solutions Engineer at Quantum Metric. We first met at TADHack when he worked on WebRTC for Oracle.

Kate Lyons is now Sales Operations Lead with Zoom. We first met when she was running events for the IEC, and again when she worked for US Cellular.

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